A WW1 journey to Ypres – Part 4

Sapper George Ellis was born in Middlesex in 1896. He was 19 years old when he was sent to fight in the trenches of Northern France; first in 1915 and a second time in 1917. He married Kate Maud on 20th August 1915 before his first journey to the Somme, where he was injured.

Spr Ellis set off for the trenches of Northern France with 104th Field Company on Tuesday 20th March 1917 – his second time out. This is his personal account of the journey to Ypres shared 100 years to the days of his diary entries.

Coxyde 2/9/17 – Dunkirk 8/9/17 – Poperinge   30/9/17

Hangars at the British and French Aerodromes at St. Pol-sur-Mer, near Dunkirk, destroyed by an air raid, September 1917. IWM.

Well after just over a month we were returned and went to Coxyde (Koksijde). We still got shelled but only about a dozen shells a day. We were still working just outside Nieuport. German aeroplanes used to bomb us every night but it took more than bombs to disturb us.

We moved from Coxyde on Sept 14 and went by barge to a place just outside Dunkirk. We were there 10 days. During the stay we were in training, plenty of drill and marching about and football.

Panoramic view of the wrecked train on the railway line in the front line, Nieuport Bains, 8th September 1917. Line was held by the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment. IWM.

We thought we were going to have a rest, but it didn’t come off. We then marched to a place called Wernbould. Stopped there one night and then off to Paradz

We were there two days and then made our way to Poperinge. We were there two days and then into Vlamertinge. We were working on repairing roads in the new territories.

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